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Activity Forums Apple Motion Seeking tips on using Motion for Day-For-Night scenes

  • Seeking tips on using Motion for Day-For-Night scenes

    Posted by Mark Suszko on October 13, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    So I’ve got a shoot coming up shot (at high noon most likely) in an alley, and I’m planning to convert it to a night scene in Motion with the 3-d lighting tools to give an overall blue cast and then add pools of light and maybe a few other effects. If you’ve done this in Motion before, I’ll take you tips and advice, please. The actors will be limited to certain tight little zones in the shots in most cases.

    Mark Suszko replied 2 years, 7 months ago 3 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Winston A. cely

    October 13, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    I know this is probably not the type of advice you want, but I would look at examples of actual night photography (still or moving) that approximate the look that is in your mind. Example:

    I did a day for night shot that had cars going through it. At first, I was just tracking some lens flares to the car headlight positions, and it was not working. Looked totally phony, more like a cartoon. Then I actually looked at footage of cars driving at night and copied that. It looked amazing, and the funniest thing was that it was much simpler; i.e. no flare.

    Look at what the light does to the surrounding physical elements like trees, fences, buildings, etc. Light spills and the further away from the source, the weaker it is. This is where things can get a little complicated. Some objects might be covering up other objects, which means you’ll need to use masks so the light is only affecting objects in a logical way. (Think about a tree in the foreground, light in the middle on a person; if you artificially add light to the person, you’ll need a mask to keep the light off the tree which would be in a silhouette).

  • Robin S. kurz

    October 14, 2021 at 11:27 am

    I don’t quite understand what 3D lighting is supposed to do. How is that useful or relevant in a 2D scene? And why even Motion? You can do this just as well in FCP. There’s even a “Night” color filter! I don’t actually see any advantages in doing it in Motion, unless maybe you want to track in a new sky or something.

    There are endless day-for-night tutorials on Youtube as well that you could watch for tips and inspiration. Even if they’re using another NLE. Since I can’t think of anything relevant to the technique that others can do that FCP/Motion can’t do, too.

  • Robin S. kurz

    October 14, 2021 at 11:46 am

    In fact the most important part is how you shoot it. After that it’s all in the grading, not any 3D lights after the fact. Very well explained here for example. Including tips on grading.

  • Winston A. cely

    October 14, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    I agree the initial filming of the scene is the most important aspect. After that, the overall day-for-night is fairly straightforward if it was photographed properly, but the way I read it was that the question was for something beyond that; i.e. adding specific lights for actors, etc. that read as more 3-dimensional. That would require a bit more planning and post-processing beyond color grading. That is where I would expect the 3D elements help in this situation.

    That being said, even though Motion does have 3D space (and as I mentioned above, I’ve done something along these lines) Motion may not be the quickest solution if the scene requires complicated character movements that interact with the lights. AE would probably be a better idea.

  • Robin S. kurz

    October 14, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    I’m sorry, but as far as this task is concerned, I don’t know of anything that AE has to offer that Motion can’t cover just as well. And most certainly not faster. So I really don’t know where you’re getting the notion that AE could be the “quickest solution” for anything. AE is a great app, but most definitely an absolute SLOTH at everything it does.

  • Mark Suszko

    October 15, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    I might try AE if I owned it at home, but I don’t. And my home machine’s not got enough room to add Resolve right now. I did a test with a background plate in Motion, and it looked promising. I added 3-d lighting, made a diffuse blue light for my moon/key. Added some spotlights overhead with tight cone angles to create what look like motivated streetlights grazing the brickwork, where there weren’t any. I’m probably not going to try to make a 3-d floor plate for this.

    My character is just standing in place, screen-left, playing and singing without movement for 95 percent of the shots, so I think it’s going to work with a couple of simple masks to put me in the “shadow” of one of those fake top lights. I can even greenscreen myself into the plate later, If I need to. There’s supposed to be a dancing couple in the shot, over my shoulder, soft focus; they will stay mostly in one spot while they do their thing. If I get ambitious, I might try to add a neon sign behind them on the brick alley wall.

    Getting a pair of dancers for this project has been a struggle: I offered 100 bucks cash for fifteen minute’s work, which isn’t a lot, but is all my budget for this can take. I’m not asking for choreography, jumps, lifts, or stunts, just a couple, doing some ballroom and salsa moves, as you might in a bar or nightclub. No takers so far. I expected I could have located amateurs who would do it for a goof, but no. I’ve tried everywhere in my town but Craigslist (because I don’t want to get stabbed).

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